Protecting Your Intellectual Property – A Look At Copyrights

In this brief segment on (America’s Small Business Network), intellectual Property Attorney, Ana Juneja shares that small businesses, especially those producing digital content, artworks, and photographs, need to utilize copyright laws to safeguard their creations, particularly in the digital and e-commerce spaces.

Recent legal adjustments, including simplification of the copyright process and removal of the mandatory use of the copyright symbol (©), indicate a shift towards making it easier for small businesses to claim protection, ensuring legal advantage and potential financial compensation in case of infringement, while also discussing the significance of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in protecting online and digital content. See this link to learn more.

Avoiding Common Tax Mistakes

This article from CNET discusses common mistakes that attract IRS scrutiny and offers tips to avoid them, such as completing your return accurately and reporting income correctly, as failing to do so can lead to audits or delays. It also emphasizes the importance of meticulous record-keeping, especially for self-employed individuals claiming deductions, and being cautious with charitable deductions to avoid raising red flags with the IRS.

5 Regulations That May Impact Small Business in 2024

Get ready, small business owners! In 2024, there will be some new rules to follow:

The Corporate Transparency Act means small businesses will need to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to tackle money laundering.

Good news for now: the IRS delayed a requirement that payments of over $600 via third-party providers like payment apps such as Venmo and Zelle have to be reported.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants more transparency in small business lending, asking banks to spill details on applicants. This will hopefully highlight potential signs of banks discriminating against borrowers.

The National Labor Relations Board’s joint-employer rule got pushed to Feb 26, 2024, expanding liability for unfair labor practices.

Also, minimum wage hikes in over 20 states and a Department of Labor proposal might extend overtime pay eligibility.

To read more about these changes, see this article in Inc.

Free Legal 101 Resource for Entrepreneurs

Faculty at Cornell University and attorneys at law firm Wilmer Hale collaborated to publish this free resource for entrepreneurs (PDF is also loaded below). The purpose of this booklet is to help startup founders to think early about key items that will set them off on the right legal track.

The booklet covers basics like entity formation, founders agreements, equity incentive plans, tax issues, bank setup, accounting and financial statement basics, HR issues, intellectual property concerns and insurance. The booklet was launched in November 2023 and will be updated over time.

Is Your Website Accessible To All?

According to this recent article in Inc., while most small business have websites, many small business owners don’t realize that business websites need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. With a rise in lawsuits against companies for failure to comply, it is in every small business owner’s best interest to understand the rules. Read the article to learn more!

Avoid These Pitfalls If You Are A Small Business Owner

This post from LegalZoom which was recently updated in September 2023 highlights the top ten mistakes made by new business owners. The list includes:

  1. Not having a business plan
  2. Not having a marketing plan
  3. Impatience
  4. Overspending
  5. Underpricing
  6. Not forming the right business entity
  7. Thinking you don’t need insurance
  8. Not having a written agreement with your business partners
  9. Failing to protect intellectual property
  10. Thinking you can do it all yourself

Check out the link to read more detail about what to do if you think you are falling short in that area as the post goes into depth on each item in the list.

Extra Education Supports Becoming An Entrepreneur

According to this piece in Fast Company, during 2021 alone, over 5 million new companies were registered in the US alone which is an increase of 23% over the previous year. While some of this increase can be attributed to the impact of the global pandemic, research is suggesting that education is playing a role as well.

While some experts have felt that continuing education is more about “signaling rather than skill development”, this new research is providing evidence that additional years of post-high school education can boost self-employment in high-growth industries. Research goes on to point out that, “for women, education may have an even greater impact on encouraging them to jump into entrepreneurship by increasing their confidence in addition to their skills.”

Education is certainly something we believe in at the Institute! If you (or someone you know) would benefit from our free 12-week entrepreneurship certificate program,  go to this page and click the “Join the Waitlist” button. We enroll on a quarterly basis and reach out to those on the notification list in the order that they are there. 

LOULOU LOLLIPOP Evolves from Side Hustle to International Brand

When co-founders of LOULOU LOLLIPOP, an eco-friendly baby product company, looked to expand their company globally, they realized they didn’t have the right to use their name in Europe and China. It was a three-year legal battle with a hefty price tag to nail down the trademark issues. Co-founder Eleanor Lee shared, “There will be challenges and mistakes along the road, there were for us. They’re stepping-stones. Don’t dwell on them.” To read more about their adventure in launching a global brand, read this piece in Women of Influence.

Legal Resources – for Free

The Legal module in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Certificate program provides a host of downloadable resources and tools for entrepreneurs but in that limited two-week course, there are many more nuanced legal items that couldn’t be covered. This list of free resources – offered through the small, woman-owned legal firm of Trellis Legal provides a fabulous assortment of tools at no cost.